Joe Santry's mind is a sponge for baseball facts-especially those with Columbus ties. The Clippers historian and director of communications has been collecting major and minor league stories since 1988. He shared a few fun Columbus baseball facts with us.
• Bernard Malmud's novel "The Natural" is a collage of real baseball stories. The player who carried a special bat in its own case was Columbus Senators infielder George Perring. The bat had been a gift from his father, who carved it from lumber from the hangman's gallows at the Ohio Penitentiary.
• Remember mighty Casey at bat in Mudville, from the classic poem by Ernest Thayer? The player whom the story is believed to be based on-Patsy Cahill (back row, far left)-spent several seasons in Columbus.
• Buckeye Eddie "Cannonball" Morris (front row, right)was one of the first pitchers to throw overhand in the pros in 1884. He was a strong left-handed pitcher, and because his arm faced south in the original Recreation Park, he was referred to as a southpaw. Thus, the lefty nickname was born.
• In 1867, Columbus Capital right-fielder P. W. Huntington reportedly never had a hit, despite batting in the lineup all season (albeit ninth). He left baseball to open Huntington Bank-the very one for which the park is named.
• The warning track at Huntington Park isn't dirt, as other fields use. It's lava rock.
• Built in 1932, Cooper Stadium was the first stadium constructed with lights for night games.
• The Clippers are the first team to win both the Governor's Cup and National Championship two years in a row, in 2010 and 2011.
• Columbus Buckeye and first deaf major leaguer, Eddie "Dummy" Dundon, couldn't hear if he was safe, so umpires began to use hand gestures: arms out with hands patting at the ground to show he was OK to stay; a thumb over the shoulder to send him back to the dugout. After 10 years in the majors, the hand gestures stuck for everyone, creating the signals you know as "safe" and "out."